Oct 20, 2023 - Development

Charlotte airport will soon open renovated checkpoint and portion of terminal lobby

Charlotte Douglas International Airport lobby.

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is nearing completion of key parts of its $608 million terminal lobby expansion.

Why it matters: Charlotte outgrew its original terminal lobby, which was built in 1982 to accommodate around 2.8 million people per year. Nearly 48 million passengers traveled through the airport in 2022.

Driving the news: A newly renovated checkpoint, which has been closed since March, will open in the coming weeks. The east side of the terminal lobby expansion will also open by early November.

  • Both will help with traffic flow during the holidays, airport chief infrastructure officer Jack Christine told reporters Friday. 

Catch up quick: The six-phase project began in fall 2019 and is scheduled to be completed in fall 2025. It features renovated checkpoints, two pedestrian sky bridges connecting the hourly deck to the new mezzanine of the expanded lobby, a 146,000-square-foot canopy outside the terminal for drop-offs, food and beverage options before security, art and renovated baggage claim areas.

  • Checkpoints A and B will become checkpoint 1. Checkpoints C and D will become Checkpoint 2.

Of note: The airport unveiled a 15-foot Queen Charlotte statue in the Queen’s Court in the terminal lobby (before security). The 3,000-pound, 15-foot-tall bronze sculpture was dedicated on Sept. 18, 1990, and was previously outside the airport between the original hourly decks. Today Queen Charlotte stands atop a 30-foot plinth, towering 45 feet above airport visors.

Here are four details to keep an eye as construction continues.

1. Checkpoint 1 will open by early November

It was previously known as checkpoint B, and it closed last spring for renovations. The airport is consolidating its five checkpoints into three with improved technology to help speed up the process of going through security.

  • The new checkpoint will have eight lanes, six of which will be automated. Two lanes will be standard.
  • This is already in place at Checkpoint E. Many tasks TSA agents had to perform manually, like refilling bins, will now be done automatically.
  • Of note: Everything must go in a bin if you’re in one of the six automated lanes. Yes, everything means you need to place your carry-on luggage in a bin.

2. Checkpoint 2 will open toward the end of the project

Checkpoint 2 will encompass what is currently checkpoints C and D.

  • Checkpoint E will become checkpoint 3 in a few months.
  • For now, TSA pre-check will remain at checkpoint C.
  • The airport will have 22 security lanes once renovations are complete.
  • Standard lanes allow for larger items, like strollers (which won’t fit into bins), to be screened.

3. The east side of the expanded terminal lobby will open by early November

The west side of the expanded lobby opened in summer 2022, as we reported.

  • Opening both sides up will free up space for passengers.

4. You can get food before going through security

Queens Charlotte’s Kitchen opened on Oct. 13.A short distance from the Queen Charlotte statue, the business serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, wine, beer and cocktails, plus Charlotte-based Pure Intentions Coffee.

5. Canopy construction is expected to finish late 2024

  • The first sky bridge will open in the first quarter of 2024, Christine said.

Take a look around:

The 15-foot Queen Charlotte statue. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
The Queen Charlotte statue. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Checkpoint 1. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Checkpoint 1. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
This is the airport's first pre-security restaurant. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
This is the airport’s first pre-security restaurant. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axio
The east side of the terminal lobby expansion. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
The east side of the terminal lobby expansion. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
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